The Uganda National Institute of Teacher Education (UNITE) has received formal clearance from the National Council of Higher Education (NCHE) for its academic programs.
Dr. Betty Ezati, Chairperson of UNITE’s establishment taskforce, has confirmed the development, marking a crucial step in UNITE’s preparations to welcome students through its doors starting next year.
“It’s a major milestone. We have received clearance, and soon the Ministry of Education will communicate the developments,” said Ezati during an interview with URN reporter.
According to information received by URN, among the nine programs proposed by UNITE, seven have successfully obtained essential approval from the National Council of Higher Education. UNITE designed a range of educational programs catering to teachers at different educational levels, spanning from nursery to primary and secondary levels.
As part of the initiatives to raise the quality of teachers and teacher education in Uganda, the education ministry through the 2019 National Teacher Policy resolved that all teachers from pre-primary should have a minimum qualification of a Bachelor’s Degree.
To implement the objective, the policy among other things recommended the creation of UNITE to take on the role that has been informally played by Kyambogo University as inherited from the Institute of Teacher Education Kyambogo-ITEK.
In 2020, the ministry formed a task force with the aim of assisting in the establishment of the teacher’s institution. This task force was responsible for crafting the programs and structural framework for the future teachers’ university. However, the process encountered delays beyond the initially communicated timeframes, primarily due to approvals from the NCHE and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Denis Mugimba, the Ministry of Education Spokesperson, says that the teachers’ institute will be operational and ready to welcome students in July next year, effective with the new financial year.
Upon its establishment, UNITE will become another public degree-awarding institution. It will specialize in offering degree and postgraduate programs for teachers, teacher trainers, and related fields such as pedagogy, education management, and research.
UNITE, headquartered at Shimoni Core Primary Teacher’s College (PTC), will have campuses at five National Teacher Colleges located in Mubende, Kaliro, Arua, Gulu, and Kabale. Additionally, it is set to take charge of the 23 primary teacher colleges that have been unaffected by the government’s phase-out initiatives.
At Shimoni, works are already in progress to create office space, and teaching facilities for the institution.